Author Topic: Japan quake  (Read 23221 times)

Offline euge

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Re: Japan quake
« Reply #60 on: March 15, 2011, 05:39:50 pm »
Hopefully any "fallout" will end up in the Pacific before it blows over the US mainland or any islands. I'm more fearful of alpha and beta than gamma so would like to see that stuff in the ocean than on human skin, crops or living enviromments.

That's pretty much backwards, actually. Alphas are high-energy, but most of that is tied up in their mass (~4 amu). They can't even penetrate skin. Plus most of the major alpha emitters are transuranics, so there's limited potential for uptake into the ecosystem. Betas are a little bit more of a concern, but most of the emitters (with the notable exception of Sr-90) are prompt sources, so by this point they've already been through a couple half-lives and are falling off. The major sources of radiation in nuclear fuel are the long-lived fission products like Cs-137, which tend to be gamma emitters. They have half-lives of a few decades, and limited potential for chemical toxicity, so they tend to wind up in the environment.


I'll take your word for it...  ;D

Alpha and beta particles will deposit more energy directly into your body with alpha's being far the worse of the two, especially if they are ingested. Gamma rays are also very dangerous but they range in energy and (mostly) will pass through the body depending on energy level. Hopefully the source isn't inside the body from ingested isotopes. The main thing is of course, that that they all are forms of ionizing radiation, and exposure to be avoided if possible. Gamma is something all humans deal with on a daily basis. Personally, I think they are a factor in aging.

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Offline phillamb168

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Re: Japan quake
« Reply #61 on: March 15, 2011, 06:26:50 pm »
Alpha and beta particles will deposit more energy directly into your body with alpha's being far the worse of the two, especially if they are ingested. Gamma rays are also very dangerous but they range in energy and (mostly) will pass through the body depending on energy level. Hopefully the source isn't inside the body from ingested isotopes. The main thing is of course, that that they all are forms of ionizing radiation, and exposure to be avoided if possible. Gamma is something all humans deal with on a daily basis. Personally, I think they are a factor in aging.

It's all dangerous. Alpha is "more dangerous" because it can land on crops and be ingested. My understanding (theoretical physics background) is that gamma, because they're of such a higher energy they're much more likely to just pass through something, and therefore are an external cause of radiation sickness. Alpha is internal, but can also be a problem externally - see the recent hubub about the new full-body x-ray scanners in airports. But still - if there happens to be a gamma ray burst in our stellar neighborhood, we're all toast.
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Offline euge

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Re: Japan quake
« Reply #62 on: March 15, 2011, 06:34:34 pm »
Yes, primarily it'd be in the atom-splitting range (see Pair Production) and we'd most likely receive full body doses. Be dead in a few days if not sooner.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Japan quake
« Reply #63 on: March 15, 2011, 07:02:59 pm »
But still - if there happens to be a gamma ray burst in our stellar neighborhood, we're all toast.
Or we're all Hulk.

Yes, primarily it'd be in the atom-splitting range (see Pair Production) and we'd most likely receive full body doses. Be dead in a few days if not sooner.
Pessimist.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline weithman5

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Re: Japan quake
« Reply #64 on: March 15, 2011, 07:06:16 pm »
alpha particles (think doubly ionized helium atoms) do carry a fair amount of energy but in general unless they are inhaled or ingested they are not a concern. they won't penetrate a piece of paper.  now if you ingest or have trapped in your lungs etc a particle that as it decays emits alpha, that would suck, however, alpha emitters are not likely to be throughout environment. yeah gamma particles have high energy and pass through the body very little you can do to shield and this represents most of the radiation that reactor operators on operating plants are exposed to from a reactor itself.  though they pass through the body their high energy rips the hell out of your cells. i was a former nuclear submarine officer and worked in the civilian nuclear industry before getting tired of it and changing careers.  i don't think the physics changed when i left.
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Offline euge

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Re: Japan quake
« Reply #65 on: March 15, 2011, 07:09:14 pm »
But still - if there happens to be a gamma ray burst in our stellar neighborhood, we're all toast.
Or we're all Hulk.

Yes, primarily it'd be in the atom-splitting range (see Pair Production) and we'd most likely receive full body doses. Be dead in a few days if not sooner.
Pessimist.

As I tell my colleagues: I'm not a pessimist- I just see the negative possibilities... ;D
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Laws are spider-webs, which catch the little flies, but cannot hold the big ones. -Anacharsis

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Japan quake
« Reply #66 on: March 15, 2011, 07:23:03 pm »
But still - if there happens to be a gamma ray burst in our stellar neighborhood, we're all toast.
Or we're all Hulk.

Yes, primarily it'd be in the atom-splitting range (see Pair Production) and we'd most likely receive full body doses. Be dead in a few days if not sooner.
Pessimist.

As I tell my colleagues: I'm not a pessimist- I just see the negative possibilities... ;D
;D I actually laughed out loud at that one.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline euge

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Re: Japan quake
« Reply #67 on: March 15, 2011, 07:28:22 pm »
You should see them squint at me when I say that. LOL.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Laws are spider-webs, which catch the little flies, but cannot hold the big ones. -Anacharsis

Offline tumarkin

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Re: Japan quake
« Reply #68 on: March 15, 2011, 08:17:05 pm »
pessimist, optomist..... I've had enough of this glass half full/glass half empty nonsense. the real question is..... is that beer in the glass?
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Offline maxieboy

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Re: Japan quake
« Reply #69 on: March 15, 2011, 08:47:26 pm »
You should see them squint at me when I say that. LOL.

Now would that be eyes half closed or half open?  :D
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Offline punatic

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Re: Japan quake
« Reply #70 on: March 15, 2011, 09:20:21 pm »
But still - if there happens to be a gamma ray burst in our stellar neighborhood, we're all toast.
Or we're all Hulk.

Yes, primarily it'd be in the atom-splitting range (see Pair Production) and we'd most likely receive full body doses. Be dead in a few days if not sooner.
Pessimist.

As I tell my colleagues: I'm not a pessimist- I just see the negative possibilities... ;D


So, would a pessimist made out of antimatter actually be an optimist?

An optometrist should be able to take care of that squint… (reading too many x-rays?)
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Japan quake
« Reply #71 on: March 15, 2011, 09:38:04 pm »
You should see them squint at me when I say that. LOL.

Actually Euge you're what I call a realist. Seeing all possibilities and taking them for what they're worth.

The latest report indicated that there's a small group of technicians still at the facility trying to get things under control as most employees have abandoned the site. I just hope that the remaining techs don't abandon ship. This would present a dire situation.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Japan quake
« Reply #72 on: March 15, 2011, 10:19:46 pm »
pessimist, optomist..... I've had enough of this glass half full/glass half empty nonsense. the real question is..... is that beer in the glass?
Some would say the glass is half full while other would say it's half empty.  An engineer says the glass is twice as big as it needs to be. :)
Tom Schmidlin

Offline punatic

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Re: Japan quake
« Reply #73 on: March 15, 2011, 10:27:06 pm »
It looks like nuclear power is pretty dangerous.  I've been thinking and came up with an idea:

Make a really long pipe.  One that stretches from the ground up into outer space.  At one end you have a vacuum, at the other end you've got 1 atmosphere of pressure.  A 14.7 psi of pressure differential... Voila!  instant vacuum cleaner.

Now you will have wind inside the pipe so you can install wind turbines in there to generate electricity.  Put the 1 atmosphere end next to the leaking reactors and you can suck all of the radioactive compounds right out into space while at the same time generating power to make up for the lost generation capacity from the nuclear reactors!
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Offline capozzoli

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Re: Japan quake
« Reply #74 on: March 15, 2011, 10:51:49 pm »
Yeah, but then Klatu will send down Gort with instructions to wipe us out for contaminating space with our radiation.
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